Author Topic: "blue collar" neighborhoods?  (Read 4196 times)

BAMxi

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"blue collar" neighborhoods?
« on: May 02, 2017, 10:07:54 AM »
We're looking at a house that is significantly below our budget. As a mustachian, I got all worked up about the potential cost savings, as it's about $80k below our max budget (house price is 120k, our max budget is 200k. Average house price for the area is probably somewhere in the 130k-140k area). But my wife has serious concerns about the area being "uninspiring" and the quality of the people living nearby, and our kid going to school with their kids, etc. Now, this is a central midwest town and is more of a country setting than urban, so the people she's talking about are mostly unskilled workers. They drive older cars (so do we...because mustache) and likely keep to themselves but aren't spending thousands of dollars on landscaping and extensive renovations to their homes. The house in question is on 2 acres but is on a street with neighbors around. The houses in this area are all a little ugly and built in the 80s (lots of brown brick). My wife is from the city and we have mostly looked at newer/remodeled homes in the city thus far. A home like we're now looking at in a trendier part of town would be probably $50k-$60k more but is basically unheard of on that amount of land. I grew up near this area and I can attest that the local economy is depressed. Houses don't appreciate in value at an extremely rapid pace, however ones that are taken care of on acreage will appreciate over time. For reference, the sellers of this home bought it 5 years ago for $9k less than their current asking price.

I'm just wanting to ask for other opinions, as I feel like I'm stranded on mustachian island right now. Here's a quick pros/cons rundown:

Pros:
-Price
-2 acres, wooded private backyard
-Brand new deck
-New Water heater
-House appears to have been maintained, though of course an inspection could show otherwise (might need a new roof)
-Not more space than we need but just enough for our family
-2 car attached garage

Cons:
-Slightly further from my work than other homes that we have looked at (will add about 5-7 extra minutes of highway driving). Wife is a SAHM so no drive time for her either way.
-Real Estate market is not as hot as other areas, though our realtor advised this house may be underpriced for the market and will sell fast
-Town amenities (parks, library, stores) are not as good as in the larger city where we have been looking, but is 10 mins to basic places like target, walmart, etc. Wife and baby's daily lives would take place in a smaller town with less things to do. My daily life would be the same, as I would still commute to the same place.
-Area does not have a "good vibe" according to my wife. People seem to just be going to their factory/retail/lower paying jobs and coming home to their families. That doesn't really bother me, but my wife is very highly educated and likes to surround herself with people who are the same. This could be a challenge without having to drive into the city.

I'm not trying to convince her either way, however I think she feels like we would not belong in this area, as we would be considered a relatively high income family compared to most other people in the immediate area.


waltworks

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Re: "blue collar" neighborhoods?
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2017, 10:30:18 AM »
It sounds like your wife does not want to live in the sticks, dude.

Use your brain and forget the savings, it's not worth it. Either rent somewhere you actually want to be, or buy somewhere you actually want to be.

-W

2microsNH

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Re: "blue collar" neighborhoods?
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2017, 10:46:08 AM »
Consider also the 'culture' of your would-be neighbors in this 'blue collar' neighborhood... do they seem to respect each other, or do they act like a$$holes? I live in a blue collar part of my (generally middle-class) town, and have watched my neighbors deal drugs outside my front door, overheard more domestic screaming matches than I can count, and been verbally abused by my pugilistic neighbor merely for asking him to cut a tiny patch of lawn between our houses (adjacent to his house). This probably sounds classist, but there are cultural differences between socio-economic classes that influence standards of behavior (public behavior, at least). I rent here and stay because it's close to work and the price is great, but I would never buy a house here because being an a$$hole is normalized in this neighborhood.

CowboyAndIndian

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Re: "blue collar" neighborhoods?
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2017, 10:50:07 AM »
It sounds like your wife does not want to live in the sticks, dude.

Use your brain and forget the savings, it's not worth it. Either rent somewhere you actually want to be, or buy somewhere you actually want to be.

-W

+1

The quality school mates will impact the education of your child. What is the quality of the school?


StarBright

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Re: "blue collar" neighborhoods?
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2017, 11:11:57 AM »
Consider also the 'culture' of your would-be neighbors in this 'blue collar' neighborhood... do they seem to respect each other, or do they act like a$$holes? I live in a blue collar part of my (generally middle-class) town, and have watched my neighbors deal drugs outside my front door, overheard more domestic screaming matches than I can count, and been verbally abused by my pugilistic neighbor merely for asking him to cut a tiny patch of lawn between our houses (adjacent to his house). This probably sounds classist, but there are cultural differences between socio-economic classes that influence standards of behavior (public behavior, at least). I rent here and stay because it's close to work and the price is great, but I would never buy a house here because being an a$$hole is normalized in this neighborhood.

^so important, especially since you have a kid.

My parents were white collar folks who made the decision to buy a house and raise my brother and I in a distinctly blue collar neighborhood that moved into a lower class neighborhood as we got all older. They chose this because this is where they grew up and they felt it was important for us to keep our roots. They didn't want to be the snobby people that moved away from their families when they "made good."

It worked out fine for me and not so well for my younger brother.

I grew up with a real appreciation for how hard people could work and still not "make it." I have great friends from growing up there and despite their hard lives I am often astounded by their resilience and humor and how kind they can be. But I grew up aware of domestic violence among our neighbors and knew some very kind low level drug dealers, and had friends who we fed in the summers because they starved if school was not in session etc.  School was awful because they didn't encourage college but always encouraged us to work at FedEx or GM or the pepsico bottling plant. I was on my own (with my parent's help) when it came to applying for college. It was really hard once I actually got to college because I was just not prepared the same way as my more affluent counterparts.

I got out when I was 18. My parents moved away a few years later because they couldn't take the *ssholey-ness anymore.

My brother (who was parented and given all the same options as me) bought a house on the street we grew up on and generally just fell in with the neighborhood guys (a couple of whom have since died due to the opiate epidemic.). His life has been touched by a lot of sadness and stress due to the neighborhood and culture we were raised in.

All of this long windedness to say - I think growing up where I grew up was a positive for me and it is part of what made me who I am as an adult - but seeing how the environment affected my brother, I would never make the choice to raise my own children in an area where I wasn't comfortable with the culture.

BAMxi

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Re: "blue collar" neighborhoods?
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2017, 11:32:42 AM »
This is good feedback. One point of clarification, because the area is a bit rural, the schools themselves serve a larger area than just the subset of people located in the immediate area of the home we're considering. So there are people from families both very wealthy and very poor attending schools in the area. With regard to domestic disputes, drug dealing, etc those are definitely a concern, however those crimes statistically happen more regularly in the areas closer to the city where I work. Though likely because there are 1. more people in the city to commit these crimes and 2. I would guess most crimes go unreported in the country.

waltworks

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Re: "blue collar" neighborhoods?
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2017, 11:44:29 AM »
Your extra 15 minutes a day of commute time (call it 15 miles, since you're on a highway) is also worth something like $7.50 per working day in mileage/gas/depreciation of your car. And assuming you make, say, at least $20/hour, it's also $5 of your time. We'll assume you don't do any extra commuting to get to groceries/shopping, out for fun with the fam, etc. Your wife can sit at home by herself all day, right?

Calling that $12 per working day to be very conservative (I'm guessing your time is worth quite a bit more than $20/hour), you're spending an extra $250 or so a month/$3k a year for the commute. At 4% interest, that's like borrowing an extra $75k!

Kill the living in the country for cheap idea. It's not as cheap as you think, and it's not going to make your family happy.

-W

marion10

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Re: "blue collar" neighborhoods?
« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2017, 11:55:16 AM »
If your wife is a SAHM, then the immediate community becomes more important. Will she find people to hand out with? Is it easy to get to programs at the library or community center they will both enjoy?

englishteacheralex

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Re: "blue collar" neighborhoods?
« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2017, 02:07:28 PM »
Sounds awful, and kind of like the neighborhood I grew up in. All my friends lived in the more congested neighborhood near the town center and it took a twenty minute drive for me to see them or really do much of anything. I was always lonely.

We bought a place in a very densely populated working class urban neighborhood with many serviceable but un-fancy amenities within walking distance. Having to drive everywhere sucks. The working class thing doesn't bother me. The constant having to drive would bother me a lot.

SwordGuy

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Re: "blue collar" neighborhoods?
« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2017, 08:35:55 PM »
Frankly, I prefer the working class folks who live next to my rental properties to all but 2 of my neighbors in my much ritzier neighborhood.

They're nice, much more willing to be helpful, and pleasant company.   A number of them are knowledgeable about things I'm interested in - and I can assure you I don't fit into the good ole boy mentality in any way.

Don't discount people by how they make their money.  That's as foolish as people discounting you because you don't appear to be rich.   


Fishindude

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Re: "blue collar" neighborhoods?
« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2017, 07:21:05 AM »
Frankly, I prefer the working class folks who live next to my rental properties to all but 2 of my neighbors in my much ritzier neighborhood.

They're nice, much more willing to be helpful, and pleasant company.   A number of them are knowledgeable about things I'm interested in - and I can assure you I don't fit into the good ole boy mentality in any way.

Don't discount people by how they make their money.  That's as foolish as people discounting you because you don't appear to be rich.
.   Best response yet!   I agree. 

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: "blue collar" neighborhoods?
« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2017, 07:46:42 AM »
My neighborhood is fairly blue-collar, but the schools are great, the neighbors are friendly and pleasant, and there's certainly no visible drug dealing.

ysette9

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Re: "blue collar" neighborhoods?
« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2017, 09:22:44 AM »
Quote
If your wife is a SAHM, then the immediate community becomes more important. Will she find people to hand out with? Is it easy to get to programs at the library or community center they will both enjoy?

I agree with this sentiment. In this case I think your wife's opinion needs to carry a lot more weight since she will actually be living in this house day in and day out, while you are basically sleeping there while spending most of your waking hours at another location (work). We are finally in a great neighborhood where I feel comfortable leaving the front door unlocked, walking alone at night, and have made friends with lots of neighbors. This adds immensely to the quality of life, and would be even more valuable to me if I didn't have a full-time career. It is hard to put a dollar value on this type of community but it adds significantly to joy, just like reducing a commute. It sounds like this place you are considering doesn't really have anything going for it aside from being a bit cheaper than alternatives. I think you need to look for an Option C.

clarkfan1979

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Re: "blue collar" neighborhoods?
« Reply #13 on: May 03, 2017, 03:27:35 PM »
If your wife is a SAHM, then the immediate community becomes more important. Will she find people to hand out with? Is it easy to get to programs at the library or community center they will both enjoy?

If the wife is a SAHM, then buy something closer to town.

Sibley

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Re: "blue collar" neighborhoods?
« Reply #14 on: May 05, 2017, 02:19:50 PM »
Frankly, I prefer the working class folks who live next to my rental properties to all but 2 of my neighbors in my much ritzier neighborhood.

They're nice, much more willing to be helpful, and pleasant company.   A number of them are knowledgeable about things I'm interested in - and I can assure you I don't fit into the good ole boy mentality in any way.

Don't discount people by how they make their money.  That's as foolish as people discounting you because you don't appear to be rich.
.   Best response yet!   I agree.

I'm buying a house in a blue collar neighborhood. This neighborhood is made up of tradespeople, truckers, low-mid level office workers, etc. They may not have a ton of money, but they keep their homes neat and clean. They may need to save up for a year to repaint the trim. Crime is low, there seems to be a friendly, help-out-the-neighbors attitude.

There are also blue collar neighborhoods that have very different vibes and qualities.

Ebrat

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Re: "blue collar" neighborhoods?
« Reply #15 on: May 06, 2017, 07:38:10 AM »
Town amenities (parks, library, stores) are not as good as in the larger city where we have been looking, but is 10 mins to basic places like target, walmart, etc. Wife and baby's daily lives would take place in a smaller town with less things to do. My daily life would be the same, as I would still commute to the same place.
-Area does not have a "good vibe" according to my wife. People seem to just be going to their factory/retail/lower paying jobs and coming home to their families. That doesn't really bother me, but my wife is very highly educated and likes to surround herself with people who are the same. This could be a challenge without having to drive into the city.

These seem like the key issues to me. If your wife is going to be unhappy in the area where her daily life takes place, the situation doesn't seem sustainable.

human

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Re: "blue collar" neighborhoods?
« Reply #16 on: May 06, 2017, 08:04:03 AM »
I would love to live in the sticks, and I mean real sticks. Think Haines Junction, Red Lake sticks. However no jobs. That example doesn't help, a nice country acreage would also be nice but that would mean over an hour commute. I walk 20-25 minutes to work (about a mile and a half). No way I would trade that for 1 hour drive or even a 20 minute bus ride. Yes that means the place we live in is smaller and costs more, but no commute is awesome.

Ocinfo

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"blue collar" neighborhoods?
« Reply #17 on: May 06, 2017, 08:19:24 AM »
There's a very fine line between a blue collar neighborhood and a working (or not) poor neighborhood. I grew up in one that was blue collar when I was young but by my early teens had become working poor. Old people that had lived there for decades started to die off and new entrants weren't firefighters or truckers but rather lower paying, less stable jobs. Drugs started taking over (nothing too crazy but present none the less).

Do your kids and wife a favor and live in a nicer neighborhood. That being said, I think the wealthy neighborhoods have many of the same problems but the people are better at keeping them behind closed doors.
Try to make sure if it does go down hill it's still nice enough. As long as the kids are exposed to diversity and different standards of life they should be fine.


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« Last Edit: May 06, 2017, 08:21:22 AM by Ocinfo »

GuitarStv

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Re: "blue collar" neighborhoods?
« Reply #18 on: May 06, 2017, 08:43:21 AM »
We purchased a house in a working class neighbourhood more than five years ago.  Generally living conditions have been perfectly fine, people aren't any better/worse than any of the upper class neighbourhoods that I've lived in with one exception.  Noise in the summer is more of a complaint.  There are a few people who think that blasting bassy music after midnight loud enogh that it can clearly be heard in someone else's house a couple blocks away with the windows closed is perfectly OK behaviour.  I end up calling the police for noise complaints about once a year.  I've never had an issue with that in the ritzier areas I've lived.

nick663

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Re: "blue collar" neighborhoods?
« Reply #19 on: May 06, 2017, 11:58:30 AM »
Frankly, I prefer the working class folks who live next to my rental properties to all but 2 of my neighbors in my much ritzier neighborhood.

They're nice, much more willing to be helpful, and pleasant company.   A number of them are knowledgeable about things I'm interested in - and I can assure you I don't fit into the good ole boy mentality in any way.

Don't discount people by how they make their money.  That's as foolish as people discounting you because you don't appear to be rich.
This.

I grew up in a blue collar, rural town and both of my parents were in that demographic.  I credit a lot of my success to growing up there because I learned what hard work was (and did everything I could to not have to work that hard in my adult life).

In my professional career it seems like anyone I run across that grew up with blue collar parents are the ones that bend over backwards to get things done for you.  The ones that are packing their computers up at 3:55 so they can leave at 4pm?  Generally have grown up in white collar areas where they were handed everything.

waltworks

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Re: "blue collar" neighborhoods?
« Reply #20 on: May 06, 2017, 07:21:59 PM »
OP made it sound like "shitty blue collar", but of course there are good and bad people making all sorts of incomes.

That's not the point here. The extra drive time and isolation for the SAHM are deal killers without considering the quality of the neighborhood at all.

-W

rothwem

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Re: "blue collar" neighborhoods?
« Reply #21 on: May 08, 2017, 06:57:02 AM »
In my professional career it seems like anyone I run across that grew up with blue collar parents are the ones that bend over backwards to get things done for you.  The ones that are packing their computers up at 3:55 so they can leave at 4pm?  Generally have grown up in white collar areas where they were handed everything.

That sounds like selection bias.  The people from blue collar families people had to work harder to get into a professional setting, so you're really only seeing the best of the best.  What you're not seeing is their classmates they grew up with that are working at Walmart and going home to do some meth in their trailer because the furniture factory closed and they didn't have the skills or the savings to leave and do something else. 

BAMxi

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Re: "blue collar" neighborhoods?
« Reply #22 on: May 08, 2017, 12:07:03 PM »
You really want to mow 2 acres every week?

It was mostly wooded, so no. But I grew up mowing about that amount...it was a hassle but we had a good riding mower and I used to drive it as fast as it would go. I did a mostly adequate job for a 16 year old, took about 30-45 mins.

Also to update anyone else who cares, this particular house was a no-go. It wasn't as well-maintained as the sellers claimed and they had two big dogs that had done some damage. The neighbors all seemed fine, one retired military man was out working in his garden and i chatted with him for a while. Said he loved living in the area and had no plans to move.